Sunday, May 27, 2012

Not Bad for Plan B

May 26 and 27th

Saturday - Cancelled Pelagic Trip

Cuban Golden Yellow Warbler by Bob Pelkey at Card Sound Toll.
The pelagic trip sponsored by Michael Brothers and the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet was a long awaited activity for this holiday weekend. I was looking forward to seeing several new birds. Such as black-capped petrol and arctic tern. But Tropical Storm Beryl changed our plans. As Bob Pelkey, Lee County's Master Birder - Vince McGrath,  Dr Jose Padilla Lopez and I were traveling across the state to attend the trip we received the, actually expected, news that the trip had to be cancelled. So what do we do know. We formulated Plan B.  Lets head to the Keys.

So we changed course and headed south. At a quick stop along Rt 70 in Okeechobee County we picked up Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Limpkin, Barn Swallow, Osprey, White-eyed Vireo, American Crow and American Coot.  Other sightings included Crested Caracara, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sandhill Cranes, Swallow-tailed Kites, Cattle Egrets, Eastern Meadowlark and White-winged Doves.

 After many miles we tryed the 800 Building on Old Griffin Road for the smooth-billed ani. There have been a few reports of sighting here recently, but these guys seem to be becoming much harder to find. After dipping on the ani we checked out the Cave Swallow colony in Cutler Ridge. Found a couple of dozen cave swallows zipping around the bridge they called home.
Bob Pelkey and Jose Padilla-Lopez

Vince McGrath directing the show

After Lunch in Florida City, were we picked up Common Myna, we headed to the Keys by way of Card Sound Road.  At the toll booth we parked to search for the Cuban Golden Yellow Warbler, an East Indian subspecies of yellow Warbler, only found in the the U.S. in the mangroves of the Florida Keys. After spending time in the locating and photography of a pair of Black-whiskered Vireos, we did succeed with Cuban Golden Yellow Warbler. We also saw our first of the day Magnificent Frigetbird, our first of the day White-crowned Pigeon and singing Prairie Warblers.

On Key Largo the sightings of Gray Kingbirds, White-crowned Pigeons, Eurasian Collered Doves and Mourning Dove were numerous.  We stopped at Dangy State Park, were we easily found more Black-whiskered Vireos, White-eyed Vireos and a pair of Mangrove Cuckoos.

By six o'clock we had made it to the government building in Marathon we encountered dozens of White-crowned Pigeons. The target of the nesting Roseate Terns were harder to locate. After some time a pair was seen, including one who was very active in harassing one of the many Least Terns that were also nesting on the roof top.

The last target of the day were the Antillean Nighthawks, that are found at the Marathon Airport.  We found a pair cavorting with each other at the western end of the run way. Also on hand was a lone Killdeer and several Cattle Egrets. Because we had made a last minute decision to come to the Keys on a holiday weekend, there wasn't a room to be had. So we retreated to Homestead for accommodations to prepare for day two.

Sunday, May 27th - Miami Area

White-wing Parrot hanging around at U of M

Our first stop of the day was the quite and beautiful campus of the University of Miami. Many exotics are to be found here and we did have some sucess. We began with a pair of White-winged Parrots and was able to add a noisy pair of Common Hill Mynas, followed by a pair of Spot-breasted Orioles and a Chestnut-fronted Macaw. Awesome. I have dipped on all of these species in the past.

Another White-winged Parrot

A Chestnut-fronted Macaw at the U of M campus
Other species seen here included Chimney Swifts, Green Heron, Downy Woodpecker, Fish Crows, Blue Jays and House Sparrows.

Looks like someone left the door open - Cockatiel

Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy Ducklings
Egyptian Goose

At the Kendell Baptist Hospital campus we added the ever present Mitre Parrots and a suprise Cockatiel. At the pond we found Muscovy Ducks, a family of Egyptian Geese, a Swan Goose, White Ibis and Boat-tailed Grackles. It was sad to see a Fish Crow fly-in with the body of a duckling which it began to consume.

Following a great lunch at a Cuban resturant, we headed for home. Did stop along Turner River Road in Big Cypress National Preserve with the idea of maybe sighting white-tailed kite. No today but we did add a Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, a Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite, an Eastern Bluebird, Great Crested Flycatcher, an Anhinga, Eastern Towhee, Common Nighthawk and Red-winged Blackbirds.

To quote Vince "Not bad for plan B"

Links -
Bob Pelkey's Blog Report
Trip List (75)-

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Swan Goose (Domestic type), Egyptian Goose, Muscovy Duck (Domestic type), Wood Duck, Northern Bobwhite, Wood Stork, Magnificent Frigatebird, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Brown Pelican, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron,  Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Swallow-tailed Kite,   Red-shouldered Hawk, Crested Caracara, American Coot, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Killdeer, Willet, Laughing Gull, Least Tern, Roseate Tern, Rock Pigeon, White-crowned Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Cockatiel, Mitred Parakeet, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, White-winged Parakeet,  Mangrove Cuckoo, Common Nighthawk, Antillean Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Gray Kingbird,  White-eyed Vireo, Black-whiskered Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Loggerhead Shrike, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cave Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Common Hill Myna, Common Myna, European Starling, Cuban Golden Yellow Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle, Spot-breasted Oriole, House Sparrow

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